The mother of two children who were found dead in an apartment in Tempe, Arizona has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Police found a 9-year-old girl, and a 7-year-old boy dead in the apartment after the mother flagged down a police officer at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 15. The woman told police she was hearing voices telling her to kill her kids, Tempe Police Sgt. Steven Carbajal said during a press conference. The woman was later identified as 40-year-old Yui Inoue, whose primary language is Japanese.
Officers said they then went to the apartment near U.S. 60 and Mill Avenue for a follow-up investigation, according to ABC15 News. When officers entered the apartment, they located the two children, who were found dead.
The children had obvious signs of physical trauma, according to a press release from the Tempe police. “It was something very traumatic for our officers to walk into,” said Carbajal.
Police reported that during the homicide investigation they learned that around 12:30 a.m. the same day, officers responded to the same apartment regarding a domestic dispute between Inoue and her husband. No one was arrested in the first response, and they were made to separate at the time, according to ABC15 News.
“The children were safe in their bed when officers left,” Carbajal said. “It did not seem like there was an immediate threat to the children.” According to Tempe Police, the father was not home at the time of the murder, and he is not a suspect.
According to ABC15 News, police said Inoue and her husband filed for divorce in April 2021 and were living in separate rooms in the same apartment.
During an interview with police, Inoue said she went to sleep with the children. Around 4:30 a.m., she woke up with blood on her hands and arms, and the children were dead. She reportedly then took a bath, and drove to the police station.
Police told ABC15 News that Inoue did not believe that she had killed the children, but she could not remember what happened. Police said a meat cleaver with bloodstains was found inside a bag in the vehicle Inoue drove to the police station.
Tempe Police Department’s peer support team is working with officers “who experienced emotional trauma due to observing the tragic scene and trauma done to the young children,” according to ABC15 News.
According to police documents, Inoue was involved in a previous incident during which she allegedly stabbed her son with scissors. The incident was not previously reported to police.